of A P Vs. Patnam Anandam  Insc 756 (14 December 2004)
B.P. SINGH & ARUN KUMAR B.P.Singh,J.
The respondent herein was put up for trial before the Sessions Judge,
Rangareddy District, Hyderabad in Session Case No.99/93 charged of the offence
under Section 302 IPC.
It is the case of the prosecution that some time between 4.00 P.M. and 7.00 P.M. on 7.11.1992 the respondent killed his wife in the agricultural field
belonging to him. It is undisputed that there is no eye witness of the crime
and the case rests on circumstantial evidence. The trial court accepted the
evidence adduced by the prosecution and convicted the respondent of the offence
under Section 302 IPC and sentenced him to imprisonment for life, but acquitted
him of the charge under Section 498A IPC by his judgment and order of 6th February, 1995.
The respondent preferred an appeal before the High Court of Judicature,
Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad being Criminal Appeal No.169/95. The High Court by
its impugned judgment and order allowed his appeal and acquitted him. The order
of acquittal passed by the High Court has been challenged before us by the
State of Andhra Pradesh.
The facts of the case in so far as they are relevant for the disposal of
this appeal may be succinctly stated. According to the prosecution, the
respondent was married to the deceased Shankaramma about six months before the
occurrence. The relationship between the respondent and his wife was not
cordial on account of the fact that the deceased wife was not an educated
woman. The case of the prosecution is that the respondent used to ill-treat his
PW-3 mother of the deceased claims to have come to the village where the
deceased was residing with her husband with a view to take her to her house for
'Jatara' (village fair) but respondent and his parents did not send the
deceased with her on the pretext that some agricultural work has to be attended
to and pesticides had to be sprayed in the fields. She was with them till about
4.00 p.m. on that day and accompanied them to their field. Thereafter, she
left for Marpally village where another daughter of her's was residing. Next
morning when she was preparing to go back to her village, she came to learn at
the bus stand that her daughter had died. On receiving the message, she
immediately came to the place of occurrence and found the dead body of the
deceased in the field of the accused with injuries on her chest and face.
The case of the prosecution is that at about 7.00 p.m. the father of the
accused PW-1 reported to the Sarpanch of the village PW-11 that he had come to
know that the deceased had consumed poison and when he met his son (respondent
herein) some time later he informed him that his wife had consumed poison and
died. On such report being made the Sarpanch informed the police on telephone
about the occurrence. Next morning at 6.30 A.M. the police officer PW-13 came
to the place of occurrence and started investigation. From the first
information report, it appears that the village where the occurrence took place
is at a distance of 4 kms. from the police station.
The first information report was lodged by the Sarpanch PW-11 at 6.30 A.M.
on 8.11.1992. The report is Exhibit P-6 in which he stated that PW-1 and his
elder son had come to him and reported to him that the deceased had gone with
the respondent to his field between 1100 and 1200 hrs. and that in the evening
his daughter-in-law died in the field after consuming pesticide.
He further stated in the report that at 7.00 P.M. he informed the police at
Peddamual police station. He also received information from the villagers that
the respondent and the deceased had disputes and the villagers suspected that
the respondent may have killed her. It is, therefore, apparent that the first
information report is by a person who is not an eye witness and who lodged the
report on the basis of what he came to learn at the place of occurrence.
It appears that on the request of the investigating officer PW-10 prepared
the inquest report Exh.P-2.
The case of the prosecution is that a panchanama of the scene of occurrence
Exh.P-3 and a sketch Exh.P-4 was prepared in the presence of two witnesses,
including PW-8, by the investigating officer. The case of the prosecution is
that in Exh.P-3 it is noticed that a piece of cloth and two white buttons were
found near the dead body very near the hand of the deceased.
The case of the prosecution further is that the respondent was arrested on
8.11.1992 and on 22nd November, 1992 he made a disclosure statement admitting
his guilt and volunteered to get recovered his shirt which was recovered under
a panchnama which is Exhibit P/7. The panchnama shows that the respondent
handed over a polyester shirt with full sleeves having red flower pattern.
Pocket of the shirt was torn and it also had two missing buttons.
As noticed earlier, there is no eye witness to support the case of the
prosecution which rests purely on circumstantial evidence. The trial court
found the following circumstances which according to it conclusively proved the
case of the prosecution:- "1.The motive of the accused his dissatisfaction
and cruel treatment of his wife on the ground that she was an "illiterate
2.The accused gave a false statement to his father that she died of
poisoning whereas she died of injuries.
3.Accused was not seen in the village by P.W.3 after death of his wife.
4.The accused was last seen in the company of the deceased by the mother of
5.The shirt piece and buttons found at the scene of offence match with the
shirt MO1 of the accused seized from his house.
6.The accused himself made a statement that he kept the torn shirt MO.1 in
his house." The High Court, however, found that there was considerable
delay in recording the first information report because though the Sarpanch
came to know of the occurrence at about 7.00 p.m. on 7.11.1992 the report was
given only at 6.30 A.M. on 8.11.1992. Secondly, the High Court suspected the
truthfulness of the prosecution case because of absence of blood at the scene
of occurrence. Thirdly, it found that no stone was recovered from the scene of
occurrence except a small stone. Lastly, it held that the two buttons and a
torn polyester shirt pocket which are said to have been recovered from the
scene of offence on 8.11.1992 were produced only on 27.11.1992, 20 days after
We are not impressed by the reasons given by the High Court for setting
aside the conviction of the respondent, but in view of the fact that this is an
appeal against acquittal, we have ourselves carefully scrutinised the evidence
There are three circumstances noticed by the trial court which are of
considerable significance and they are - firstly, that the accused was last
seen in the company of the deceased by the mother of the deceased, secondly,
that a torn piece of a shirt and buttons found at the scene of offence matched
with the shirt MO1 seized from the house of the accused and lastly, that the
accused gave a false statement that his wife had died of poisoning, whereas the
medical evidence disclosed that she had been brutally assaulted with some blunt
object resulting in the fracture of several ribs and causing other injuries
which ultimately resulted in her death.
We shall first examine the evidence led by the prosecution to the effect that
PW-1 reported the matter to the Sarpanch PW-11 at 7.00 P.M. on 7.11.1992 and
that the Sarpanch made a report to the police telephonically at 11.00 p.m. and
also sent a report. The police came to the place of occurrence at 6.30 A.M. on
the following day. On a careful scrutiny of the evidence on record, this part
of the prosecution case does not appear to be true. In this connection, we have
examined the evidence of PW-1, the father of the respondent. According to him
he had come to know from his son that the deceased had consumed pesticide which
resulted in her death and he had informed the Sarpanch about the death of the
deceased. The deposition of PW-1 does not disclose the approximate time when he
reported the matter to the Sarpanch PW-11, but we proceed on the basis that he
informed the Sarpanch some time in the evening.
Sarpanch PW-11 stated that in the evening PW-1 had come to him and informed
him about the death of his daughter-in-law and that her dead body was lying in
the fields. He thereafter stated:
"I telephoned to the police station and also sent a written report to
Subsequently, I went to the place where the dead body of the deceased was
Since people stated that the accused killed the deceased I wrote in the
report that the accused killed the deceased. Exh.P-6 is the report given by me
to the police." The statement of Sarpanch is somewhat ambiguous. He
claimed to have telephoned the police and also "sent a written
report" to the police. The investigating officer has also stated in the
course of his deposition that he received a telephonic report from PW-11 at
about 11.00 P.M. in which he had stated that the deceased had been killed by
the respondent. The investigating officer has not produced any evidence to show
that such a telephonic message was received by him at any time. If such
information had been given to the police officer on telephone, he would have
certainly not missed to record a report on the basis of the said information,
since the report made to him clearly disclosed the commission of a cognizable
offence by the respondent. The name of the person making the report was also
known to him. Assuming that he did not consider it necessary to draw up a first
information report on the basis of such telephonic information, he would have
certainly made a note of it in the station diary. There is no evidence to show
that any station diary entry was made. PW-11 claimed that he had also sent a
report to the police. That report has not been produced before the Court. Thus,
neither the oral report made to the investigating officer by PW-11, nor the
written report said to have been sent to the police by PW-11 has been proved by
evidence brought on record. Therefore, the court is deprived of the initial
reports said to have been made by PW-11.
One also fails to understand why the investigating officer did not
immediately proceed to the place of occurrence, having come to know that the
respondent had committed the murder of his wife. The village of occurrence was
hardly 4 kms. from the police station, and yet the admitted case is that he
came to the village at 6.30 A.M. It was at the place of occurrence that PW-11
is said to have made a report to him on the basis of which a formal first
information report was drawn up. These facts lead us to doubt the case of the
prosecution that any report was made at 7.00 P.M. by PW-1 to the Sarpanch of
the village, and that he had reported the matter to the police at 11.00 P.M.
The fact that the police arrived at the spot at about 6.30 A.M. when a report
was lodged by PW-11 for the first time, leads one to suspect that the death of
the deceased came to light some time early in the morning of 8th November,
1992, and only thereafter the investigative machinery was put into motion. This
finding of ours reduces the significance of the incriminating circumstance that
the respondent was last seen in the company of the deceased at 4.00 P.M. on the
The next significant circumstance is the fact that the respondent had given
a wrong information about the cause of death of the deceased. It is no doubt
true that the medial evidence conclusively establishes the fact that the
deceased was battered by a hard and blunt object and her neck was pressed with
such force that even the hyoid bone was fractured.
However, the statement made by PW-1 to the Sarpanch PW-11 that his son had
informed him that the deceased had died after consuming pesticide, is not
admissible in evidence, being hit by the rule against hearsay. This
circumstance cannot, therefore, be relied upon by the prosecution to prove that
the respondent had given a false explanation for the death of the deceased.
The most crucial circumstance which could have linked the respondent with
the murder of the deceased is the finding of a cloth piece and two buttons near
the body of the deceased, which according to the prosecution were parts of the
shirt worn by the respondent on the date of occurrence. It was urged before us
that the respondent made a disclosure statement on 22.11.1992 and produced a
shirt from his house voluntarily which was worn by him on the date of
occurrence. The case of the prosecution is that while resisting the assault on
her, the deceased may have caught hold of the pocket of the shirt and in the
struggle that ensued, the pocket was torn off and two buttons also fell off
near the place of occurrence. Unfortunately, the prosecution has led no
evidence to connect the shirt with the piece of cloth found near the place of
occurrence. Counsel for the respondent submitted that the respondent was
arrested on 8th November, 1992 and the alleged disclosure statement is said to
have made on 22nd November, 1992. The disclosure statement made after such
delay has no value. We will assume in favour of the prosecution that a
disclosure statement was made on 22nd November, 1992 and pursuant thereto the
respondent produced before the police a shirt, which according to the
prosecution, was worn by him on the date of occurrence. The seizure memo of the
shirt shows that the shirt was a white shirt with red patterns of flower it
appeared that the pocket of the shirt was torn apart. Two buttons were also
missing from the shirt. The site plan Exhibit P-3 discloses that near the dead
body was found a torn shirt pocket and two white buttons. The colour of the
shirt pocket found has not been disclosed in the panchnama. It is, therefore,
difficult to connect the torn shirt pocket with the shirt which was recovered
at the instance of the respondent. This apart, we find that no evidence has
been adduced by the prosecution to establish that the piece of cloth found at
the place of occurrence was really a part of the shirt which was recovered at
the instance of the respondent. No witness has said so. Moreover, the
circumstance that the pocket of the shirt worn by the accused at the time of
committing the offence was found at the scene of occurrence, was not even put
to the respondent in his examination under Section 313 Cr.P.C. It is,
therefore, difficult to rely upon, as an incriminating circumstance, the recovery
of two buttons and a piece of cloth, said to be the pocket of a shirt, from the
place of occurrence, in the absence of any evidence to connect the said piece
of cloth with the shirt of the accused.
In this state of the evidence on record, we are of the view that the
respondent is entitled to an acquittal by giving to him the benefit of doubt,
though for reasons different from the reasons recorded by the High Court.
In the result, this appeal is dismissed.